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Scientists don't know whether a daily multivitamin staves off disease, but many people take them to maintain or boost their health. Others take just one vitamin or mineral, like iron, to fill in a gap in their diets.

Before you add a supplement or vitamin to your routine, go over these questions with your doctor, pharmacist, or registered dietitian:

  • How would this supplement help me? Do I need it for a medical condition or to prevent disease?
  • What does the research say about its benefits?
  • How much would I take?
  • When and for how long do I need it?
  • Should I take it as a pill, powder, or liquid?
  • Which form of the vitamin (vitamin D2 or D3, for instance) is the best?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • What are the best brands of this supplement in terms of quality, safety, and how well they work?
  • Can I take it along with my other medications? Should I avoid any foods?
  • Will I need to stop taking it if I have to have surgery?

Which Vitamin Form Should You Choose?

Vitamins and supplements come in many forms, like pills, liquids, or powders. The one you choose depends on how they work in your body and how you prefer to take them. For example, some only work in a dry extract form, such as a capsule or pill. Others work faster and are more effective as a liquid. Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you are confused about the right form to take.

Certain supplements come in pills because they stop working, or become dangerous, if they come in contact with the acid in your stomach. Some people need to take a liquid if they have trouble absorbing vitamins from a pill, or even if it’s hard for them to swallow capsules or tablets.

And not all forms of a nutrient are the same. For example, vitamin D supplements come as either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3. Also, there are several types of vitamin E. When in doubt, talk with your doctor about which supplement suits your needs.

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